Credit to Americastestkitchen staff
Avoid overfilling: Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the food, which can be limited if food is packed too tightly, causing it to steam instead of crisp, and cook unevenly. (That said, proteins shrink as they cook, so a snug fit with meat is OK.) We recommend taking a “jigsaw puzzle” approach to fitting foods, cutting larger proteins in half and skewering smaller pieces to make it easier to arrange more food in the basket without overcrowding.
Rotate and flip proteins: It may seem fussy to rotate and flip meats halfway through cooking, but it helps the air circulation reach every part of the food. We found it easy to do so with a pair of basic kitchen tongs for nimble control and so we weren’t reaching into a hot oven.
Toss vegetables in a bowl: Yes the air fryer basket does come with a handle, but shaking the basket to turn your food can give uneven results. We found it was worth it to toss French fries and other vegetables into a bowl partway through cooking, which redistributed them much more efficiently for perfectly even browning. (This also gives you the opportunity to add seasonings such as herbs and grated cheese partway through cooking.)
“Lincoln log” your skewers: Kebabs are not just fun to eat; they also provide an easy way to space out food in the air fryer basket. Four or more skewers, when stacked in a perpendicular arrangement—log cabin style—maximized exposure to air. We employed the same method with our Zucchini Fries.